Sunday, September 15, 2013

Calotes Garden Lizard


     Calotes is a lizard genus in the draconine clade of the family Agamidae, containing 24 species. Some species are known as forest lizards, others as "bloodsuckers" due to their red heads, and yet others (namely C. versicolor) as garden lizards. They are native to South Asia, southern China, mainland Southeast Asia and Ambon. Additionally, C. versicolor has beenintroduced to Florida (USA), BorneoSulawesi, the SeychellesMauritius and Oman.[2] The greatest species richness of the genus is from the Western Ghats, northeast India, Myanmarand Sri Lanka.

Behavior, feeding and habitat

     Calotes is distinguished from related genera in having uniform size dorsal scales, and lacking a fold of skin extending between the cheek and shoulder, and in having proportionately stronger limbs than Pseudocalotes. Compared to BronchocelaCalotes have a proportionately shorter tail and limbs. Calotes as we know it today was classified by Moody (1980) prior to which all of the above mentioned genera were included in this genus.

     The genus is still a heterogeneous group that may be divided into the C. versicolor and C. liocephalus groups. The former occurs through most of South Asia and further east. All species in this group have their dorsal and lateral scales directed upward. The latter is restricted to the southern Western Ghats and Sri Lanka. All species in this group have their scales directed back, or up and down, or down only. Whether further splitting is necessary or whether the groups constitute subgenera of a monophyletic Calotes remains to be studied.

     A very nice morning of birding, began on Gowri Ganesh Festivity, which is believed to be a great time to start new things. After returning from Mulki birding, we observed this near the highway. We are a great team with me, Ajith Kamath and Ranganath Bhat, committed to birding, almost every Sunday, which helps us to improve our skills on photography and we love to learn always..


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